In order to compose this piece, I had to depend on a circular way of thinking. Initially, my plot was linear, but that did not work well. Rather than use a traditional pyramid plot structure, I outlined plot points, and wrote something for each. Then, I added more pages under some plot points and linked it all together. I linked absolutely everything to anything at first, and then gradually deleted links and added new to get rid of infinite loops or excessive backtracking. —Julie Young, a student in my “Writing for the Internet” course. —Rationale for ‘La Tour Eiffel’ (A Work in Progess)
For her term project, Julie started writing a hypertext travellogue, but soon realized that a hypertext document defies traditional notions of time (and space). Since Julie came into the course as an experienced blogger, I encouraged her to challenge herself for her final project. There wasn’t time for me to offer a unit on hypertext literature, so Julie was pretty much on her own.
She conducted usability testing on a rough draft, and adjusted her linking technique and added more material after she observed what her test subjects did or didn’t like about her work. As is the case with most literary hypertext, the brevity of each individual node can convey the false notion that the text itself is insubstantial, when in truth the amount of planning and fine-tuning that a mutipath story requires means that even a brief creative hypertext generally takes far more brain power than a traditional short story of the same length.
I like how she used devices such as a journal to take us back in time, and a suitcase full of brochures to take us forward. Have a look at “La Tour Eiffel.”